The old interstellar empires are falling apart. Hungry new corporate powers are taking their place, battling over the bones of the old empires even as they expand into new, unexplored space, searching for resources and valuable discoveries. Nearly forgotten, the first-settled worlds await their chance to rise, by any means necessary.
And now, there are the aliens.
Nothing will ever be the same.
Humans have always been alone in the universe… until now.
In Rogue Squad, you are a mercenary whose combat unit follows a distress signal to a mining outpost at the edges of inhabited space. Here, you make a horrifying discovery: Aliens exist, and they want you dead. You and your fellow mercenaries may not be the champions humanity would have chosen, but you’re going to have to step up. It’s up to you to gather what intel you can, fight your way through the attacking alien hordes, and stay alive long enough to alert the rest of humanity to the threat.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that humanity will put aside its differences and present a united front. Humans have always been their own worst enemy – and now is the worst possible time to ask for unity.
Because the vast empires that have reigned for hundreds of years are toppling. Immensely powerful business conglomerates are ruthlessly fighting for supremacy. And system by system, the universe is plunging into chaos.
A Universe in Upheaval
Meet the major players in the Rogue Squad universe.
The Falling Empires
For centuries, the fate of humanity was decided by rival empires, each spread out over hundreds of systems. Tradition, alliances and well-established military forces cemented their rule. Now, however – due to overextension, lack of resources and neglect of more distant territories – their time is coming to an end.
The empires’ rule still holds fast in their core systems, but more and more of their outermost worlds are breaking away. At the same time, their power is being eroded from within. In their desperation to fund wars to regain lost worlds, many rulers see no other choice but to borrow money or resources from a corporation.
Given that the corporations have their own agendas, this is a very bad idea.
The Rising Corporations
Interstellar corporations built up vast spheres of influence in recent decades. Different corporations gained footholds in different systems and fields of trade, and are constantly battling each other for advantage. Corporate culture is based on commerce, negotiation and striking deals. Alliances shift daily, and the merchant princes in charge have a ruthlessly pragmatic outlook.
The corporations’ focus is on trade, exploration and the securing of resources (including planets and entire systems, if they offer some advantage). There is always a new world to exploit, another crumbling government to take over – a new market or innovative technology to vie for.
Corporations don’t maintain standing armies, but in corporation-owned systems, their powerful customs organizations act as both the military and police. To defend their interests in other systems, corporations prefer to employ mercenaries.
The First Worlds
The First Worlds have been left behind centuries ago, but they are still there, at the fringes of inhabited space – cut off from the rest of humanity by lack of resources and modern technology, ignored and overlooked.
Many First Worlds are the breeding ground of strange cults and ideologies, and all are regarded with a mix of suspicion, mockery and derision by other worlds. They often find themselves caught in the crossfire of conflicts they have very little to do with.
Some have turned to piracy to survive. Others refuse to have anything to do with outsiders… and some may have darker plans of their own.
Settling the Stars
Humanity’s expansion into space falls into three distinct phases.
Phase 1: Slow Exodus at the Speed of Light
The first spaceships could not exceed lightspeed. Interstellar travel to potentially inhabitable worlds was extremely risky and slow, and certain to be a one-way trip. Generation ships were designed to carry generations of travelers over centuries; they would live and die onboard until their descendants finally reached their target system. Some decades later, new technology allowed for hibernation ships carrying cryogenically frozen crew and settlers.
In these early years, chances of survival – let alone of reaching the intended destination and successfully settling a new planet – were microscopically slim. It took a very special kind of person to brave the journey despite such brutal odds. Often, Phase 1 settlers were driven by a burning conviction that gave them strength. Adherents of extreme ideologies and religious cults were frequently found among these adventurers.
Humans are a tough breed. Even with the odds stacked against them, some early settlers did survive to settle new planets – the First Worlds.
Phase 2: Fast Expansion with the Sundrive
Everything changed with the invention of the sundrive. This technology allows near-instantaneous “jumps” between two stars. The jumps are powered by the stars’ magnetic fields, and the sundrive’s only real limitation is that it cannot bridge gaps between stars that are farther than a certain number of parsecs apart.
Within a few decades, “sun roads” were carved into space – established routes leading from star to star. Much-advanced terraforming now allowed for the effective creation of habitable worlds, and clusters of populated worlds and systems sprang up with blinding speed.
The sundrive ended the isolation of human colonies in space by making communication and travel between settled worlds possible. It was also the basis for interstellar empires’ rise to power.
Phase 3: Pushing Further Out with Sunstations
A new technology now once again promises to change everything. Sunstations act as artificial stars for the purposes of travel via sundrives; ships can use them to jump in the place of actual stars. What’s more, ships can use sunstations to jump to destinations with no star at the other end of the trip. This allows the push into unexplored space – the huge expanses of previously unreachable “dark” space in between the sun roads and inhabited worlds.
Even though the technology is still highly experimental and extremely expensive, many corporations are rushing to explore its possibilities.